Prayer is the second most important pillar of the religion of Islam. Although the act of fasting is to be performed during a specific period of time in a year or holy pilgrimage to be done once in a lifetime. Prayer in Islam is a way to connect to the Almighty every day.
Prayer in Arabic is As-Salah, meaning “connection”. According to the holy Quran, salah means to demonstrate faithfulness to God by means of certain actions. As per Islamic belief, prayer protects us from any evil, as Man was created weak and needed to seek help from God to protect himself. Prayers help a devotee to fulfill the desire to connect with our creator. It has the power to wipe away one’s sins. By praying, the followers of Islam convey their love, respect, and gratitude towards Allah -The Almighty.
Types of prayers in Islam
Payers in Islam can be classified into four groups – Fard the obligatory prayer, Wajib the required prayers, Sunnat, and Nafl the voluntary prayers. Each of these prayers is offered in a certain way, with a certain objective. One needs to understand that.
Fard is an Arabic term which means Obligatory or Compulsory. There are five daily prayers which for Muslims is the most well-known, and obligatory act. The five obligatory prayers are:
- a) Salat al-Fajr (Morning Prayer)
- b) Salat al-Zuhr (Noon Prayer)
- c) Salat al-Asr (Late Afternoon Prayer)
- d) Salat al-Maghrib ((Sunset Prayer)
- e) Salat al-‘Isha (Night Prayer )
All the followers of Islam should perform the above obligatory prayers every day. Leaving or missing to perform a Fard prayer is considered to be sinful. If a Prayer is missed unintentionally, the mistake can be rectified by offering the missed Prayer as soon as one remembers.
Wajib Prayers – Obligatory in a Situation
Missing the Wajib prayer like Fard prayer intentionally is considered to be sinful. But unlike missing a Wajib prayer unintentionally the devotee is not required to offer it as missed prayer or Qada. Two types of Wajib prayers are offered:
1)Salat-al-Eidain (Festival Prayers)
2)Salat al-Witr (Odd-Numbered Prayer)
Offered regularly in addition to Fard Prayers by the Prophet are the Sunnah prayers. Sunnah prayer can be further classified into two kinds. One, that is connected to the obligatory prayers and others that are not connected to the obligatory prayers.
1. Prayers connected to the obligatory prayers
The first category of Sunnah prayers is to be offered before or after the obligatory prayers.
- a) The sunnah of the ritual prayers
- b) The sunnah of the Friday Prayer
2. Sunnah prayers that are not connected to the obligatory prayers
- a) Salat-al-Tarawih
- b) Salat al-Tahajjud
- c) Salat al-Duhad) Salat al-Awwabin
- e) Tahiyyat al-Masjid
- f) Tahiyyat al-Wudhu
Last, in the classification of Islamic prayers, is the Nafl or Nawafil prayers. These voluntary prayers are usually performed with a personal objective and can be offered as per one’s wish. It is emphasized that as more Nawafil prayers are observed, more one’s wishes are fulfilled.
Nawafil Prayers are mentioned below:
- Salat at-Tahajjud
- Salat al-Ishraq
- Salat ad-Duha
- Salat al-Awwabin
Although Nawafil prayers can be offered as many times as possible, there are certain times when they should not be offered. For example, Nawafil prayer cannot be offered between Asr and Maghrib prayer. It is not mandatory to offer Nawafil prayer in the mosque, it can also be
offered at home except if asked to be offered in the mosque.
How to pray in Islam?
Muslims remember Allah, by performing ritual prayer five times a day. It is a way of expressing their love and respect for Him. Salah or Prayer is a highly structured form of prayer that consists of facing a particular direction, performing specific physical movements, and recitations at certain times of the day. The following are the steps involved in offering Salah.
Preparation before prayer
1)It is important to ensure that the area where prayer is to be performed is clean and free of impurities
2)Next step is to perform ghusl i.e., washing oneself fully, or if needed Perform tayammum i.e., dry purification.
3)After cleansing the Muslims must turn their faces in prayer towards the Holy Kaaba.
4)Muslims should ensure it is the proper time for prayer and cover themselves.
Performing the Prayer
1)Prayer begins by making the intention of prayer in the heart.
2)Next step is to raise hands next to ears and shoulders, then say Allāhu Akbar
3)Then, place your right hand over your left hand, Muslims say, “Allahu Akbar” and bend down.
4)After raising oneself from ruku i.e standing up. A Muslims says Allahu Akbar and prostrate.
5)Finish the prayer with tasleem.
Muslims also refer to the prayer as namaz. It is one of the most important pillars of Islam. Prayers are the doors to reach and connect with the Almighty. In Islam prayer is considered to be the supreme act or a way to reach emancipation to Allah in Islam.